Do you remember playing the game “Rock, Paper, Scissors”? You pound your fist three times while your friend pounds her hand and then you make the sign of a rock (a fist), paper (flat palm), or scissors (two fingers making a cutting motion). Rocks crush scissors. Paper wraps rocks. Scissors cut paper. Sometimes life feels like that game. I question if I’m struggling with rocks in my garden of life or need to cut back thorns and hopefully is not the hard flat path. We continue today with Jesus as he continues to tell his disciples the meaning of the parable of the sower throwing out his seed that we looked at yesterday.
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:18-23)
Our seed can fall on hard ground. The other just doesn’t get it. In one ear and out the other. Blank stare. But the seed can fall where there is a little soil and there is some sign of growth. Rocky soil means there is shallow dirt resulting in shallow thinking and no real roots. Problems blow those sprouts away. Thorny soil chokes the plant with anxiety and care. Good soil gets a good plant. I suspect that we all have hard places in our heart where old scars have hardened our ability to absorb truth. Rocks like bad experiences can sour us to God’s word. We tried to pray but God didn’t seem to be listening and so we quit. We feel like God is too busy for me. We do have days like that or, perhaps, we are too busy for God! We all know about worries and anxiety that distracts us from God. We want to be good soil but sometimes after our fist pounds three times we come up with rock, thorns or hard ground.
Lent is a time when we examine our soil to see if rocks need to be removed, thorns pulled up, and hard places plowed. Setting aside five minutes each evening before you go to bed or five minutes in the morning to review yesterday can be a valuable Lenten discipline. Matthew 17-26, nine chapters are devoted to Jesus coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration and heading to Jerusalem. Let’s read those chapters this Lent. Blessings.